Ghana Opposition Contest Election Results in Court

Ghana’s opposition New Patriotic Party started its legal challenge of this month’s presidential election in the country’s highest court, contesting results of the vote that was lost by its leader, Nana Akufo-Addo.

The party, which governed in West Africa’s second-biggest economy from 2001 to 2009, issued its petition at the Supreme Court in Accra, seeking a nullification of the vote outcome.

“We are taking the Electoral Commission to court to say that the results that they brought should be annulled because it was fraught with irregularities,” Mike Ocquaye, deputy Greater Accra region secretary with the NPP, told reporters in the capital, Accra, today. If they win and a vote has to be reorganized, the NPP want the United Nations, the European Union and other international groups to “come and not only monitor but conduct the elections,” he said.

Akufo-Addo, a 68-year-old former foreign minister, got 47.7 percent of the votes cast in the Dec. 7-8 election, according to the Electoral Commission. John Dramani Mahama, 54, of the ruling National Democratic Congress, who is named in the NPP’s court petition along with the commission, won with 50.7 percent. Foreign and domestic observer groups said the election was credible.

A total of 1.3 million votes are in question, said Mahamadu Bawumia, a former deputy central bank governor and the NPP’s vice-presidential candidate. Mahama defeated Akufo-Addo by 326,000 ballots, according to the commission.

Contesting Parliament

More people registered for the presidential vote than the simultaneous parliamentary polls and almost half a million Ghanaians were allowed to vote without using a biometric identity-verification system, Bawumia said, citing the party’s examination of polling data. Some voting documents weren’t signed by electoral commission officials at polling stations and serial numbers on some ballots didn’t match their vote centers, he said.

“Elections are about those who cast votes, not those who count, collate, supervise or declare results,” Akufo-Addo told reporters today.

The party is gathering evidence and will later file petitions to contest some of the parliamentary results, said NPP Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.

Cedi Declines

Ghana’s currency weakened for a second day, declining 0.3 percent to 1.9065 a dollar, the lowest since Nov. 29, by 3:45 p.m. in Accra, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield on the country’s $750 million of Eurobonds eased for a third day, retreating 5.6 basis points to 4.89 percent. A basis point is equal to 0.01 percentage point.

Sylvia Annor, a spokeswoman for the Accra-based electoral commission, didn’t answer two calls made to her mobile phone today. Deputy Information Ministers and NDC members Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa and James Agyenim Boateng didn’t answer two calls made to each of their mobile phones.

As a defendant, the Electoral Commission has the right to reply after 10 days, Accra region NPP official Ocquaye said. The court will then give hearing notice within five days and then will have as many as 60 days, including weekends and holidays, to judge the case, he said. A decision can’t be reviewed or appealed, Ocquaye said.

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